By DENNIS PETRONE
Photos Courtesy of PARAMOUNT PICTURES
“’I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds, and the creatures.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:7)
From Director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream), Noah is the upcoming big budget, blockbuster movie rendition of the archetypal bible story about the world’s most famous flood—and more specifically, why and how Noah (Russell Crowe) and his family prepared for it.
According to Emma Watson, who plays Noah’s daughter Ila, “[Noah] could be set in any time—a thousand years in the future, or a thousand years in the past.” While the original flood was punishment for man’s sins against the almighty, this one may be for our sins against nature. A global warming analogy intended to help audiences relate better? Likely. Here’s another parallel: Katrina.
Evidence suggests a massive flood during biblical times really happened—and not just rivers rising a few inches, or an especially rainy wet season. There was a single destructive, massive cleansing event in the ancient world—possibly caused by the end of the last ice age and resulting in the Mediterranean Sea pushing a water channel through the Middle East 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls. Imagine a smaller world where no one is connected by technology or superhighways—a flood even bigger in size and scope than Katrina would have seemed apocalyptic.
Regardless of how Noah the movie reinterprets and retells Noah the bible story, audiences are in for a treat. Russell Crowe is flanked by Jennifer Connelly, who plays his wife Naameh. The pair played a married couple once before in A Beautiful Mind—a movie that won four Academy Awards, one of which was given to Connelly for Best Supporting Actress. Noah’s daughter Ila is played by Emma Watson, who has blossomed into a Hollywood sweetheart with several celebrated feature films since the Harry Potter series, including My Week With Marilyn and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In Perks, she stars across from Logan Lerman, who plays Noah’s son Ham. And with Anthony Hopkins as Noah’s grandfather and Nick Nolte as the film’s lead protagonist (excluding the flood), the cast of Noah wields an undeniable weight.
The star of Noah is one of the film’s most prolific actors, Russell Crowe. Crow’s credits include over 30 major motion movies. He has also been testing his talents in more resent years as a producer and director. With a career that spans 40 years and several continents, it is no surprise he is being tapped for his knowledge behind the camera. Also not surprising though is Crowe’s penchant for making films fans don’t take to—as much as ones fans love. For every great film like Gladiator, Proof and L.A. Confidential in Crowe’s career, there have been grating ones like Robin Hood, Broken City, and Virtuosity. But having done such a remarkable volume of movies, it is not astonishing that not all of his roles have been Academy Award winners. (In fact, he’s only won one, for Best Actor in Gladiator.) Even though Russell Crowe is awesome and undoubtedly a Hollywood legend, the fact alone that he is the star of Noah doesn’t mean it will be a great movie. But all of the other factors that went into the making of Noah—including its highly-regarded director Darren Aronofsky, the movie filming in remote areas of Iceland, and the $125 million Paramount Pictures spent on production—do make it very promising, and a must-see.
If the star power and story of Noah don’t bring you to the theater, then the aesthetics should. Years before Aronofsky pitched his rendition to Paramount, he collaborated with artist Niko Henrichon to create his script as a graphic novel. With this graphic novel in hand, he was able to get the studio to green light his project. The graphic novel is part surreal and part supernatural. From the beginning, Aronofsky set out to translate that beautiful vision to the big screen.
Noah opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 28.
Photo 1: Russell Crowe stars as Noah, Photo 2: Emma Watson, Photo 3: Jennifer Connelly, Photo 4: Noah’s Ark